I remember when I was at school, I was taught how to make a bread and butter pudding, which I then brought home in my wicker basket to the unenthusiastic faces of my parents who had to eat it (yuck!). Cookery lessons were boring, the end result never came out like it was supposed to and I hated the lessons, which always assumed a basic understanding of food, which back then, I just didn’t have.
Roll on a couple, ahem… a number of years and now, despite a love of cooking, I have never been on, or even been tempted by the idea of going on a cookery course.
All that changed when having a coffee with friends and the subject of cookery classes came up. Had I tried it? Did I fancy it? Suddenly we went from just talking about it, to looking at the website and to booking online for one of the evening courses there and then.
We wanted to try Angela Gray’s Cookery School, which has been voted into the Top 10 Uk Cookery Schools by The Independent and The Telegraph and is based on our doorstep in the Vale.
As neither I, or my friend are experienced in baking, we decided to opt for an evening of baking, which was the bake and freeze for Easter, with the promise of making a delicious carrot cake and some hot cross buns.
When we arrived, we were offered a cuppa and some yummy homemade shortbread. There were just six of us on the course, mainly women, with a token gent, and a right mixture across the ages.
The setting of the cookery school is simply stunning, as it is located right next to Llanerch vineyard. The sun was shining through into the kitchen area which was all light and pastel shades, very British Bake Off.
Three of those attending had been booked onto the course as a present, two for a birthday and one for Mothers Day, which made me smile as it was something I had suggested in my mothers day gift ideas. No such luck for me, I had to book it myself!
Angela introduced herself and started to talk through what we would be doing during the evening, which seemed like quite a lot to pack in. She came across as very passionate about what she does and we were all excited to get started. The whole ambience was friendly and relaxed which was lovely as apart from me and my friend, everyone else had turned up on their own.
We were given our aprons and a shown to a designated cooking area where all our ingredients had been measured out and our equipment all ready for us to use.
We started, off with making the cake. We added some pineapple to the usual carrot and walnut mixture which gives it a bit of a twist. We buttered our cake tins and popped them in the oven and before we knew it the smell of baking wafted through the kitchen making us all very hungry.
But there was no time for resting, it was straight onto the hot cross buns with Angela clapping her hands and telling us to be “quick, quick”.
Anglea showed us how to mix the ingredients together and make a good dough consistency. She coached us through how the feel of the dough changes, becomes tighter as its ready and she demonstrated how you stretch and fold the dough, making it all look incredibly easy before we were then let loose on ours.
Then on to the piping! Angela mixed water and flour until it was like putty paste and we then piped this onto our buns before popping them into the oven.
While the buns were in the oven, it was time to ice our cakes. We were shown how to ice properly and were shown Angela’s cake that she had made earlier, which was really something, as a guide to what we were going to try and do with ours.
From the mixture that was left we made a couple of cup cakes which we donned with Easter bunnies to take home.
The cake is topped with plenty of butter icing and freeze dried raspberries, which smelt divine. It was my first ever experience of icing with buttercream, so whilst my cake may not be the best, for a first attempt I was really pleased with it. Angela gave us a fluffy chick to take home and to place in the centre to make it an ideal showcase cake for Easter.
Then, before we knew it the buns were ready to come out of the oven. Apparently you know when you have a good bun when the currents pop out like rabbit droppings! We then glazed them with warmed up maple syrup to give them a gorgeous gloss finish.
A make and freeze class it may well have been, but there was no way these little beauties were going to last until Easter. I knew as soon as my boys would see them they’d be having them for breakfast lathered in butter!
I left the evening feeling exhausted but exuberant – there’s something so rewarding in having some baked goodies that you have put all your efforts into. I couldn’t wait to get them home and show them off.
The whole evening was run really well, we achieved so much in a short space of time and yet we still managed to have some nice chatter going on while we cooked. It is also really nice to be able to take what you make home with you. Angela was really informative and very approachable and she had some great stories to share.
As suspected, nothing was frozen after the class, it was all eaten far too quickly. It’s just put the pressure on me now to cook some hot cross buns for Easter, I just hope they live up to the ones I cooked under Angela’s supervision!
I absolutely loved the class and I can’t wait to go back. From talking to Angela afterwards she told us of how she gets visitors from across the world who regularly return and I’m not surprised why. I’ve already been back online looking at what other classes are coming up and I really like the sound of the Weber Barbeque courses, ideal for the summer.
All views are my own and links are unaffiliated. I went to the cookery class as a paid attendee and they were unaware I would be writing a review.